Last week I had a near death experience.
Pottering about Paris, three days before the flight home I convinced myself
our plane would be shot from the sky and Don and I would perish in a fiery ball of fire.
Worse than that, Bruce would be an orphan.
And like the terrible Dog Mum I was, I had made absolutely no provision for him.
some journal pages from paris
The more I thought about it the worse it got. Thoughts like these tend to metastasise
in your mind, and take over your day. How could I have been so careless?
So self absorbed? Why hadn’t I organised my entire fortune into security
for the furry love of my life? There are dogs with trust funds and Bruce
had to have one. He had to have one now.
In the three days before we flew out.
Normally, you don’t think about dying, not unless you’re very depressed
and who could be depressed in Paris? In a Paris apartment with typical Paris
rooftops, kooky plumbing and all the baguettes you can eat. Morning baguettes
and afternoon baguettes. Baguettes with butter.
If I was going to die, I’d choose death by Bordier butter, thank you.
Bordier butter is salty creamy. It’s listed as one of the ten things you
have to eat in France. I wanted to carve mermaids out of it and sing to them.
I wanted to invent new dishes all out of butter. I get why French
cooking uses it so much; it’s not the yellow grease we get back home.
It tastes like sunlight.
Clearly, death by dairy is preferable to a fiery ball over the Ukraine.
There is more time to make preparations, like who’s got spare keys
to your house. More prep time means more time to remedy being the
most Awful Dog Mum in the world, but I didn’t have that time.
I had three days and one of those days was doing the Eiffel tower.
It helped to draw the map in my journal, along with the metro stops. Only I spelled Marche Des Enfants Rouges wrong.
Sweeping baguette crumbs from the lap top, I did the only thing I knew -
I started to write. I made letters to trusted ones at home, and sent them off.
There are many tests of true friendship and emailing someone to say you may die
in a fiery ball over the Ukraine, is one of them.
Sometimes I ate blueberry tart.
Next I made an online will. Which had to be signed by two witnesses,
at the same time. Easy. Except I was in Paris, knew nobody,
and apart from being able to say “Je prend un cafe au lait,” wasn’t going to get far.
I spent about 24 hours on this part, being eyed suspiciously by French real estates
agents and pharmacists who were clearly leery of putting pen to a legal document
in another language, and why should they? In France you don’t
sign a will like that. Rejection is good for the soul.
I got rejected in French. Made it classier.
Flaxseed oil, Rescue Remedy and lavender Oil.
In a voice of gentle humouring, ex hubby phoned from home asking if I was OK,
and what were these mysterious daily cash deposits doing in his account.
My life savings had to be available to keep Bruce in the style he was accustomed to,
I said. And being an ex hubby, knowing me better than most, he said, “Of course”.
I had less than three days to transfer my fortune.
Banks don’t like that. They are suspicious like that. They’re not equipped
for near death scenarios and furry trust funds. They wanted two days to
authorise my request. Two days I didn’t have.
The second person was Aunty Lou, dog whisperer. She loved Bruce
and would adopt him herself. The house minders said they’d stay,
but the tone was like one you use for dementia patients.
By the time I boarded the plane for home, I knew who my friends were.
I knew who had keys to the house and who would be custodian for the only one
who meant the world to me, part from Don. (But only just.)
Facing death makes you appreciate being alive. It makes you grateful for tiny things.
Like the sun patch on the balcony where Bruce likes to sleep and the fact that
people who really know you will love you even
if you have a pre flight freak out.
When I texted ex hubby in Dubai there was a glass of Moet in my hand.
I’m still here, I said. Now give me back my money.